Moving into a duplex or multi-unit home is difficult for some. Even apartments and condos, for some reason, seem to have better soundproofing. So what can you do if you constantly hear the sounds of your neighbors talking, watching television, or dragging their chairs around? Soundproof the areas between the dwellings in your unit and you’ll achieve astounding results.
To get started, you’ll need to determine if the noise is coming through the walls, through a ceiling, through open windows on common walls, or a combination of all three. If the noise is simply coming from a loud television, radio, or video game you may be able to remedy your situation by approaching your neighbor. Politely state that you recognize that the walls seem to be thin and ask if they could keep the volume down. Acknowledge that you may have made similar mistakes in the past and apologize if you have done so. Your neighbor simply might not realize how noisy he, or his children, actually are.
If that doesn’t work – or if it really isn’t noise your neighbor can control – you’ll need to begin soundproofing your walls. Start by buying a supply of drywall, screws, acoustical caulk, and Green Glue. You’ll need a caulking gun to apply the Green Glue to the walls, using a haphazard pattern. You don’t need to scrape, peel, or otherwise prepare the wall first – just apply to the wall as it stands right now.
The next step in soundproofing your wall, after applying the Green Glue, is to install a second layer of drywall over top of the existing layer. If your town ordinances allow, use screws to attach the new layer as they’ll better compress the materials. Fill the seams between the layers of drywall with acoustical caulk, refinish the wall as desired, and kick back to admire your work.
The same procedure can be used to soundproof your ceiling if it is the sound of upstairs neighbors that is causing you problems.
You might be surprised to find that your neighbors are having sound problems as well. Perhaps you can band together and apply soundproofing measures around the entire unit, helping each other along the way. The job will get done faster and you’ll all be a lot happier.